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Here are the final Gas Plant redevelopment revisions

Mark Parker



An aerial rendering of the Historic Gas Plant District's redevelopment, anchored by a new Tampa Bay Rays stadium (right). Images provided.

Part two of two.

Mayor Ken Welch said the “whole point” of two previous Historic Gas Plant District redevelopment workshops was to glean feedback from the St. Petersburg City Council and “possibly strengthen” agreements.

Speaking to the Catalyst after the June 12 meeting, Welch said the goal is unanimous support for the $6.7 billion mega-project anchored by a $1.37 billion Tampa Bay Rays ballpark. “I’m not giving up on anybody,” he said of the eight-person council.

“I think the case that this makes for moving our community forward is strong enough that it should earn every vote.”

City officials released an itemized list of key development revisions Monday afternoon before the final July 16 Committee of the Whole presentation. The council will vote July 18 on 12 agreements related to Tropicana Field and the former Gas Plant’s redevelopment.

Here are the contractual changes made to the administration’s and the Rays/Hines development team’s 30-year plan to transform a sea of parking lots into a thriving, 67-acre mixed-use community:

The city council must now approve any changes regarding the 600 onsite affordable and workforce housing units. Councilmember Richie Floyd expressed concern over ambiguous language at the May 9 workshop.

The development team once proposed building 859 affordable and workforce units as part of the deal, which subsequently increased to 1,250. The Rays and Hines can now dedicate market-rate housing – including single-family homes – to those earning lower incomes.

Multiple council members took issue with Welch holding sole discretion over agreement changes. That has changed substantially, and the council must also approve any substitutions within the $50 million community benefits package.

City Councilmember Gina Driscoll has called Booker Creek a centerpiece of the Historic Gas Plant District’s $6.5 billion redevelopment.

Councilmember Gina Driscoll advocated for many included revisions and asked for agreement language that prioritized utilizing local businesses during construction. “We have a lot of people with a lot to offer,” she said May 9.

The documents state that the development team must “focus on the residents of the South St. Petersburg CRA (Community Redevelopment Area)” when establishing a “restorative talent pipeline.” Those efforts include supporting diverse hiring, job training, entrepreneurial development and mentorship programs that lead to job placements, internships and apprenticeships.

In addition, the Rays/Hines must foster existing entrepreneurs and small, minority and women-owned businesses. The focus is again on those within the South St. Pete CRA.

The developer must provide online communication tools, host town hall meetings, establish community and youth steering communities and create a “project welcome center” that connects residents and local businesses with onsite opportunities. The city will receive a lump-sum payment of any community benefit funding not expended after 25 years.

The Rays/Hines have until July 1, 2025, to reach a development agreement with the Woodson African American Museum of Florida’s leadership. They have committed $10 million to a new state-of-the-art facility.

However, Museum officials must provide a finalized financing plan, a guaranteed maximum bid from a qualified contractor and prove financial commitments that cover half of the project cost to receive funding. The development team has 15 years to commence construction on the facility before proposing a substitute obligation – subject to the council’s approval.

The Rays/Hines must support South St. Petersburg educational programming “from daycare and early learning through postsecondary and vocational programs.” The University of South Florida has offered staunch support and a willingness to participate.

Council Chair Deborah Figgs-Sanders (second from right) asked administrators to move the first official development “check-in” from 2035 to 2030. They acquiesced. Photo by Mark Parker.

Multiple council members recently questioned why city projects like the Gas Plant’s redevelopment did not include the same grocery store stipulation as ongoing efforts to revitalize Tangerine Plaza. The Rays/Hines included a 20,000-square-foot grocery store in its “target development plan,” a concern expressed by Councilmember Brandi Gabbard at the May 9 workshop.

Stakeholders have since added a mandate to provide one fresh food and produce retailer encompassing at least 10,000 square feet to the minimum development requirements. An onsite daycare or childcare facility must encompass at least 2,500 square feet.

Council Chair Deborah Figgs-Sanders asked to move the first official development “check-in” from 2035 to 2030. The development team must now complete 400,000 square feet of vertical construction by Dec. 31, 2030.

The agreement previously mandated that disadvantaged workers and apprentices must complete 15% of all construction hours and requires them to receive a “responsible wage.” Associated penalties ranged from $850,000 to $1.675 million by the end of the 30-year term.

The Supreme Court has ruled against similar quotas. However, the Rays/Hines will willingly comply in “good faith” to mitigate potential legal challenges.

Revised documents now state that the “developer acknowledges and agrees that it is voluntarily assuming the certified business, disadvantaged worker and apprentices requirements set forth in this section, and such requirements are not being imposed by the city as a matter of law.”

Read Part One here.  





  1. Avatar

    S. Rose Smith-Hayes

    July 11, 2024at7:16 pm

    I just wish that the City would retain all ownership of the Land!!!!

  2. Avatar

    Tim Beals

    July 11, 2024at3:25 pm

    This is such a bad look on city government for making a decision that negatively effects so many people and I don’t even live in Florida.

  3. Avatar

    Alan DeLisle

    July 11, 2024at7:54 am

    Where is the document required by law that shows the city is getting more back financially than they are putting in. Legal required me to do this on every incentive deal I ever did. Of course, this cannot be properly produced because the city is giving up $1.6 billion in return for $50 million.

    Montanari, Gabbard, and Driscoll sold out years ago to the Rays when Kriseman was properly protecting city taxpayers; they should be ashamed of themselves that they boxed themselves into supporting the worst MLB-City deal ever. You even beat out Miami. You will be remembered by the regular voter. You better hope the Chamber can give you the cover you will need.

  4. Avatar

    Steven Brady

    July 11, 2024at1:17 am

    There are great reasons why the Supreme Court ruled certain government activity vis a vis reverse discrimination is illegal. I am pretty sure that’s the oblique reference in the last three paragraphs.

    Are we to be happy that the City has pressured the Rays to do something to try to skirt the law and US Constitution, apparently? See again the last three paragraphs.

    I can’t see how that is good public policy. Indeed, it would seem to be the opposite. And I wonder if the strategy to apparently engage in race based favoritism, at the wishes of a government entity, it that’s what this kind of confusing article says will happen, will or should work.

    I would hope not.

  5. Avatar

    Michael Mantle

    July 10, 2024at6:39 pm

    A complete waste of money.It’s a terrible place to put a ballpark.It didn’t work in miami and it’s not going to work in saint petersburg

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